Thierry Neuville would not be interested in Hyundai Motorsport pulling all of its resources behind him for his championship bid following Ott Tänak’s disastrous two rallies, as he feels he is “more of a team player than maybe some other drivers”.
Tänak’s title bid has derailed somewhat following two suspension-related retirements from leading positions on both Rally Portugal and Rally Italy.
While he should have scored at least 50 points across those two weekends, the 2019 world champion instead accumulated just nine from first and second on the powerstages.
Neuville did not score well in Portugal either after crashing his Hyundai, but he claimed third in Sardinia – as well as the powerstage win – to keep himself close to the leading Toyotas of Sébastien Ogier and Elfyn Evans.
When asked by DirtFish if Hyundai should consider backing just him in the drivers’ championship, Neuville said that was against the ethos of the team.
“As I’ve always said, I’m more of a team player than maybe some other drivers,” he said. “I want to get the team to the top again so we all should score [the] maximum of points.
“We always have had the same possibilities in Hyundai and the same cars, that’s still the case now and it will probably be the same case until the end of the season.
“There might be one point [where there’s] a situation where the driver’s points might be really important for me, more than for Ott or Dani [Sordo] or whoever is in the third car, but I’ll leave it up to Andrea [Adamo, team principal] to decide whether it’s necessary or not.”
Quizzed if he would like that policy to be considered as early as this month’s Safari Rally Kenya, Neuville added: “As always, I do my own race.
“I give my best, and if I’m not able to give my best I try to at least get to the finish as we did [in Italy], try to score what’s possible to score, and from there on we go step by step forward.
“Hopefully there are a few strong events to come from us but there’s also our home event [Ypres Rally] where we hope to score important points.”
Asked about his own ambitions and whether now he would need to focus more on event wins than a championship bid, Tänak suggested he may consider adopting a new approach.
“I think in this situation there is nothing much to look [at] anymore,” he said.
“Obviously it’s nothing you can change yourself so for us it’s pretty much like race by race and everywhere we go we try the maximum, and I guess [at the] end of the year we see if that was enough or not.”